Lead scoring came about as a process to remove the guesswork from lead qualification and usher in a defined system. Many marketers consider lead scoring as a top revenue contributor. But it isn’t always an effective method of identifying high-potential prospects. Especially with the increasing popularity of account-based marketing and selling. This is why account scoring entered the scene.
Marketers need to choose the right scoring model to make their revenue processes more efficient. So, let us understand both the scoring methods and find out which one is appropriate for your business.
What is lead scoring?
Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads based on their engagement behavior to identify high-quality leads that sales can work on. Sales and marketing teams within a company collectively work on building a lead scoring model by defining what makes a lead a good one. Then, values are assigned to the leads based on certain criteria.
Two main types of criteria are used by revenue teams to score leads. Firstly, profile data, which is made up of demographic and firmographic data such as titles, industry, company size and revenue. This data helps identify the lead and ascertain if they have a need for your solution or not. Secondly, the engagement criteria looks at the interaction of a lead with your website and other online activities to determine their interest level towards your product or service. The scores obtained in both the criteria are combined to arrive at a lead score.
Developing and implementing an organization-specific lead scoring model enables sales and marketing to determine where a prospect is in the buying journey. Then, they can identify the leads that can be moved to the sales bucket (SQLs) and those that need nurturing.
But, is it applicable to all businesses? Read on to find out.
Where is lead scoring applicable?
This method works best for companies that have products or services with low Annual Contract Value (ACV). Low value decisions are taken by users quickly. As an example, if your design team needs a low-cost tool for improving video production, there is a high chance of this requirement getting easily approved. In comparison, if your CMS has to be upgraded from a simple to a more sophisticated one with a much higher TCO, there’s going to be a longer debate and a buying committee involved in the process. Here, the decision making isn’t going to revolve around one person but multiple personas.
Similarly, companies targeting SMBs for their solutions will find lead scoring beneficial. Simply because there are fewer decision makers to engage with. So, identifying the correct lead could be the key to enabling the purchase decision.
What happens if your business isn’t targeting SMBs, or your products or services are high ACV?
Things are going the account-based route
For companies selling products and services with a higher ACV of 30-40K or more, lead scoring isn’t the ideal method. The purchase decisions here aren’t as simple as it is for low ACV solutions. Such a high-budget purchase requires a longer consideration time and more stakeholders to arrive at a decision. These companies also tend to target enterprises more than SMBs largely due to the high purchasing power involved in such deals.
In the B2B world where buying cycles are increasingly becoming more complex, lead scoring leaves a lot of gaps. If a B2B company targeting enterprises assumes that a single lead or an individual can make an enterprise-level buying decision, it isn’t factoring in stakeholder opinions, budget, and other critical factors.
The increasing shift towards account-based engagement in B2B has also made lead scoring redundant. With companies looking at an average buying group size of around 6-7 stakeholders and multiple personas for the enterprise market, account scoring is the way forward.
What is account scoring?
This scoring method sorts target companies in order of their potential to convert – from the highest to the lowest. Through the account scoring lens, you see opportunities in the form of organizations and not individual leads. An advantage of this is uniform messaging across the buyer’s group. This avoids the confusion that can arise from lead scoring practices.
Without an account scoring system in place, your marketing might have just started reaching out to a lead while your sales is already doing a demo with another lead from the same company. This means two different stakeholders in two different sales cycles, and your team is spending double the resources trying to win one account. This isn’t the ideal buying or selling experience.
Before selling to a company, it’s ideal to identify if it has the budget or a requirement for your solution. To systematically expedite this process, companies need to develop an Ideal Customer Profile. Once you’ve passed your target accounts through the ICP filter, you can prioritize and segment the most valuable ones through account scoring.
Making the move to account scoring
Practicing this scoring method means more than an implement-once-and-done activity. B2B organizations need an intelligent account scoring model. One that continuously updates itself based on real-time engagement data, interests and results. To achieve this, companies must build a steady stream of data through their own engagement activities. By bringing all these data together from your sales and marketing platforms, and visualizing them against your historical data, you can unearth trends and patterns about the performance of similar accounts. This helps B2B companies remove assumptions from their account scoring process.
At BambooBox, we consider account score as a multi-dimensional, dynamic value that is collectively driven by the ICP score, intent score and engagement score. So, we leverage AI and ML to build multi-dimensional models that help B2B revenue teams arrive at accurate account scores to run a data-driven account qualification process.